The long stretch of active weather that’s bombarded British Columbia in recent weeks has no plans to let up anytime soon. A duo of disturbances heading toward the province are set to produce a spell of gloomy weather early this week. Heavy rain is likely at lower elevations, while the mountains can expect more accumulating snow. Beyond that, forecasters are watching for an extraordinary stretch of frigid weather, which could result in the coldest Christmas on record for places like Vancouver. More details on the timing and impacts, below.
MUST SEE: Canada's 2021 Holiday Snow Report
THROUGH THURSDAY: UNSETTLED PATTERN PERSISTS WITH MORE RAIN AND SNOW HITTING AHEAD OF THE HOLIDAYS
Monday will be fair but chilly across southern B.C. The brisk temperatures are a nice trade for a brief reprieve from the heavy rain and snow. Enjoy the serene weather while it lasts, though, because the next two systems arriving on Tuesday will join together to bring an extended period of unsettled weather for the region.
Clouds will begin to spread over Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland on Tuesday as a warm front approaches the region. Meanwhile, another storm will come ashore along the northern B.C. coast and begin moving south.
Widespread heavy precipitation and gusty winds will develop between these two systems late Tuesday through early Thursday. Temperatures will be warm enough at lower elevations for precipitation to stay mostly rain around Vancouver, but a wintry mix could creep in for low elevations on Wednesday as warmer air climbs over stubborn cold air at the surface.
Much of Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland can expect between 30-50 mm of rain through Thursday, with higher totals possible in areas where terrain enhances precipitation rates.
Higher elevations will score more accumulating snowfall out of the system. We could see 5-10 cm of snow across parts of the Interior, with totals reaching 20-40+ cm for coastal mountains and higher elevations on Vancouver Island.
Blustery winds will be commonplace across B.C. as the systems move through. Winds will ramp up for the North Coast through Tuesday afternoon, reaching Vancouver Island and the South Coast overnight Tuesday into Wednesday. Gusts of 50-70 km/h are possible, with stronger gusts in some spots.
LOOKING AHEAD: UNUSUAL AND EXTENDED STRETCH OF ARCTIC AIR WITH POTENTIALLY RECORD BREAKING COLD
Much colder air will spread over Western Canada heading into the Christmas weekend, with an unusual and extended stretch of Arctic air set to blast B.C.
While freezing levels for the South Coast will temporarily bump up mid-week with the arrival of the system, freezing levels are forecast to bottom out on Friday and beyond, with daytime high temperatures for Vancouver sitting below freezing for Christmas.
Vancouver actually has the potential of breaking records with this cold. A daytime high of -1°C is currently forecast for Saturday (Christmas Day). The coldest daytime high recorded on Christmas for Vancouver was -1.7°C tied in 1924, 1964 and 1971.
This extraordinary stretch of frigid weather expected for the South Coast will continue through the end of the month, with additional opportunities for snow.
Check back for the latest forecast across British Columbia.